An Arsenal Blast from the past …… The birth of the FA Cup

Original FA Cup 1872 - No.10 001

Although there are no official records it is thought that The FA Cup was a concept first proposed by Charles Alcock after official business had been concluded at a Football Association meeting on July 20, 1871 – Alcock proposed:

“That it is desirable that a Challenge Cup should be established in connection with the Association, for which all clubs belonging to the Association should be invited to compete”
last blast 1
The FA’s first minute book records that the proposal was approved unanimously. The seven man committee that approved the resolution included the captains of the first final, Charles W. Alcock and Francis Maridin its referee Alfred Stair and the games only goal scorer Morton Peto-Betts. The idea was generally well favoured and at a subsequent meeting on October 16th, 1871 the rules for the competition were drafted. The original committee could never have imagined the time when their concept would become one of the most loved sporting events in England and would be seen by millions of people around the world. Nor could they have foreseen that it would become the forerunner to all knock out competitions including the World Cup, which has a worldwide audience of over one billion.

FA Cup Resolution No.10 001

Fifteen clubs entered the first competition: Barnes, Civil Service, Clapham Rovers, Crystal Palace, Hampstead Heathens, Harrow Chequers, Hitchen, Maidenhead, Marlow, Reigate Priory, Royal Engineers, Upton Park, The Wanderers, Queens Park of Glasgow and Donnington School. It was a somewhat erratic affair with Harrow Chequers, Reigate Priory and Donnington School scratching without playing a single game. Queens Park was given an exemption to the semi-finals due to the distance involved and the cost of travel, sides which drew were also allowed to move on to the next round. Queens Park received public donations which allowed them to travel to Kennington Oval for their semi-final against Scottish pioneers the Wanderers and played to a draw, a lack of funds ruled them out of a replay at the Oval so they were forced to withdraw from the competition.

The Wanderers faced the Royal Engineers in the final which was played at the Oval on March 16, 1872. Two thousand spectators paid a shilling each when the average weekly wage at the time was under twenty shillings. The crossbar was either a piece of tape or rope, teams changed ends after each goal and the field was unmarked inside the touchlines. The Wanderers, who were captained by Charles Alcock, won the game on a single goal scored by Morton Peto-Betts of West Kent, he was a member of the FA committee that had approved the birth of the FA Cup. Wanderers went on to win five out of the first seven FA Cups.

Morton Peto Betts was the scorer of the games only goal and the very first FA Cup Final goal but early reports indicated that the game was won with a “well placed shot under the tape” by A. H. Chequer, however this was actually Betts who played using the pseudonym of A. H. Chequer because he had started the competition as a member of the Harrow Chequer side, who had scratched without playing a game.

Here is a picture of Betts which was taken at Bickley Park Cricket Club in Kent.
Morton Peto-Betts 002

The president of the Football Association, Ebenezer Cobb Morley was the first man to present the FA Cup. The cup presentation took place four weeks after the Final at the Wanderers annual dinner at the Pall Mall Restaurant at Charing Cross.

Ebebezer Cobb Morley No.10 001

Fast forward to May 17, 2014 for the one hundred and thirty third FA Cup Final – the game will be between Arsenal and Hull City. Arsenal is appearing in its record eighteenth Final and has won the trophy on ten occasions, the last being in 2005, while Hull City will be making their first ever appearance in the Final.

This is the last Blast from the Past.


97 Responses to An Arsenal Blast from the past …… The birth of the FA Cup

  1. chas says:

    Hooray, brilliant post, GN5.

    Booooooo, the last Blast from the Past.

    The FA hierarchy and organisation hasn’t really changed that much since its inception, has it?

    Thanks again, GN5.

  2. sean potter says:

    rasp,thats a good cup history,i never knew all that.i hope we win it.

  3. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “Hampstead Heathens”

    Damn fine name.

    Are you ok GN5?

  4. chas says:

    1901 – Fatty Foulkes hitches up his “shorts”. 🙂

  5. chas says:

    This is what the Hull section will be like!

    Includes more shorts hitching from “Fatty” Foulkes.

  6. sean potter says:

    has anyone seen much of adil rami?he’s being linked and i hear he is good.

  7. crystals says:

    What a fascinating insight.Love the names and the idea of changing ends after each goal.
    A great series GN5 thanks very much.

  8. crystals says:


    You obviously haven’t read this piece of history prepared by GN5. Perhaps a more relevant comment would be more appropriate then perhaps we can discuss Adil Rami if we have to, another time.

  9. sean potter says:

    i surely read that history and apreciated it in my first comment.dnt go drawing swords crystal,i’l see to that next time.

  10. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all,
    Blinding post GN5
    What’s all this LAST BLAST FROM THE PAST. nonsense.
    How the bloody hell is the youngsters ever going to learn about how things were years ago. Because they will never look it up themselves.

    I like post’s like this one, it kind of shows that England had a lot to do with how the game has turned out. I must admit that a lot has changed over the years and its through posts like this that we all realise that.

    I love to read the names of some of the players, if i speak the truth it sounds a bit the same now, only in those days most were English.

    When you said that some of the goals were just bits of string and tape, makes me look back and realise that my first games that i played were just a couple of jumpers, and as i got older just goal post’s,. Nets came in for us when i was in my twenties, and we had to get them and put them up before a game and down after the match.

    I hope you change your mind N5 coz i like them.

  11. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Was the stolen trophy ever found?

  12. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah ha, from Wiki:

    “The first, the ‘little tin idol’, was used from the inception of the Cup in 1871–72 until it was stolen from a Birmingham shoe shop window belonging to William Shillcock while held by Aston Villa on 11 September 1895, and was never seen again. The FA fined Villa £25 to pay for a replacement. Almost 60 years later, the thief admitted that the cup had been melted down to make counterfeit half-crown coins.[15]

    The second trophy was a replica of the first, and was last used in 1910 before being presented to the FA’s long-serving president Lord Kinnaird. It was sold at Christie’s on 19 May 2005 for £420,000 (£478,400 including auction fees and taxes) to David Gold, the then joint chairman of Birmingham City. Gold has loaned this trophy to the National Football Museum which is now based in Manchester and it is on permanent display to the public.

    The current FA trophy, used since 1911
    A new, larger, trophy was bought by the FA in 1911 designed and manufactured by Fattorini’s of Bradford and won by Bradford City in its first outing. This trophy still exists but is now too fragile to be used, so an exact replica was made by Toye, Kenning and Spencer[16] and has been in use since the 1992 final

  13. MickyDidIt89 says:

    And this Oh Dear

    The cup is decorated with ribbons in the colours of the winning team, but during the game the cup actually has both teams’ sets of ribbons attached and the runners-up ribbons are removed before the presentation. This tradition was ended by the Football Association in 2013 at the behest of an American brewery which was sponsoring the competition that year, when the winners, Wigan Athletic, were presented with a trophy dressed in sky blue and red ribbons bearing the sponsor’s name and logo, rather than their club colours of royal blue and white.

  14. stevepalmer1 says:

    That was one of the questions asked.
    What always goes to Wembley, but never gets used.

    The losers Ribbons

  15. chas says:

    That Ebeneezer chap looked pretty fierce.


    Cheers GN5

    Great competition the FA Cup.

    Blimey, I bet with a name like Ebenezer Cobb Marley, he was a right tight bastard. Charles Dickens would have had a field day.

    I am also sorry to say, Betts looks like a young Adolf Hittler. He cant have pulled many birds looking like that?

    Arsenal have a brilliant affinity with the Cup. Most finals and now hopefully matching Utds wins

    I recall in the eighties that all my spurs enemies would give it the bigun about how they were the Cup team.Now all they have left to crow about is there propensity for large protruding craniums indicating a touch of the Neanderthal.

    Never take a Totnumb fan near a cave. He will light a fire, hunt down some unsuspecting rabbit, and mistake you for his mate.

  17. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Great competition indeed, Transplant, but I tried explaining it to my son.

    Everyone used to tune in. The hotels, breakfasts, coach journey to Wembley, the walk about the pitch, the dreadful suits, the even worse Records. All gone. Sad.

    I’m convinced playing the semis and play offs there really damaged the mystique of reaching Wembley.

  18. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Any chance of a visual as to what colour we should be wearing at Wembley 🙂

  19. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh come on….

    I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not strictly changing the subject, as it’s Cup related, and anyway, Crystals will be having his afternoon kip right now 🙂

  20. chas says:


  21. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Cute, but not the clarity I was hoping for 😦

  22. chas says:


  23. chas says:


  24. chas says:

    So not off to Madrid………

  25. RA says:

    That is another superb Post, GN5.

    You are educating me with some really fascinating facts and names that I was unaware of.

    Who could imagine that today there is only one club, namely Crystal Palace who were among the 15 clubs who took part in the inaugural event.

    Now if it came up in a Quiz Nite we would all know. 🙂

    5% of a weekly average take home pay (1 shilling ticket @ 20shillings per week) would equate to roughly £27 in todays money (£28000/52 = £538 @ 5% = £27).

    Doesn’t sound a lot, but I wonder how many ‘working men’ at that time could have afforded it? By the sound of it, many of the attendees might have come from the middle classes.

    That could be the basis of a masterclass Post on the 19th Century socio-economic impact on the working class and the grass roots commercial origins of football from our very own accountant, Terry the Syrup. 🙂

  26. chas says:

    Last comment in moderation for some reason.

  27. chas says:

  28. RA says:

    Chas @ 3:47,

    That was a little indelicate showing one of the little piggies Micky scoffed – and so cute – as he said.

    How could he? The beast!!

  29. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas @5:07

    Oh Helllllo. Ding Dong 🙂

  30. chas says:

    Mmmmmmmmm – roast piglet, my favourite.

  31. Big Raddy says:

    Another top post Gn5. We are so lucky you have taken the time to write about not just AFC but also football history. Like Micky said,the magic of the Cup has faded but those early FAC Finals remain in the memory.

    Hampstead Heathens! I was born in (well close to!!) Hampstead and grew up there.

    I always knew that deep down I was a Heathen.

  32. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Interesting calculation.

    £27 in today’s money is affordable for a working class man, especially as proper fans would always put their football before extra clothes and food for their children 🙂

  33. LB says:

    The thing that struck me while reading the post was that there was a team from Scotland in the competition. Doh, that is such a simple solution to all those who want to see competitive games between English and Scottish clubs.

    Arsenal verses Celtic in this years FA Cup final.

    Sounds good to me.

  34. LB says:

    Good news about Koscielny.

  35. Big Raddy says:

    LB. That Scottish idea is very good but I expect the SFA will be horrified.

    Wonder what the SNP would think?

    Great news about Kos, I was concerned he would be attracted by the money other clubs would be offering especially MU and Pool who are desperate for a player of his quality.

  36. Rasp says:

    Lovely ‘Blast’ GN5, I know recent events have hit you hard but please don’t be a stranger. You’re part of AA and very much appreciated by us all.

  37. RA says:

    I second that, Rasper.

    Come on back, GN5, please! 🙂

  38. RA says:

    It is good news about Kosser, LB, and I agree with you about an Arsenal Celtic Cup Final, but it would be so lop sided if the other Scottish teams were allowed into the competition that I cannot see it ever happening.

    Micky OUT, by the way! 🙂

  39. MickyDidIt89 says:


    May I ditto Rasp’s comment.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every “Blast”, and will miss them. As I have said so many times, I have learnt an awful lot.

  40. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Fantastic about Kos.

    Now come on Bac, sign da ting 🙂

    Is there anyone else in the last year who needs to get the nib out?

  41. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I think the Scottish idea is terrible. Always found visiting fans from up there a bloody nightmare.

  42. arnie says:

    Brilliant stuff, GN5. 🙂 Last blast from the Past? That must be a joke. Or, do you mean the fireside family stories come next. 🙂 🙂

    Look forward to the next rounds. GN5. 🙂

  43. GunnerN5 says:

    I appreciate the positive comments and would like you all to know that my health is top notch for an old codger. MY reason for not blogging is that of late I’ve been preoccupied with a lot of deep family concerns – which would have made me even more intolerable than normal.

    I will still make appearances on AA and will also write more on Arsenal history.

  44. RA says:

    You Devonian – Newcomers, think everyone visiting are nightmares – in London we think the Scots are lubberley! 🙂

    Still Micky out! 🙂

  45. chas says:

    Phew, thank Dennis for that, GN5.
    About the blogging and posts I mean.
    Best wishes for anything else.

  46. GunnerN5 says:

    Paddy texts his wife…

    “Mary, I’m just having one more pint with the lads.
    If I’m not home in 20 minutes …. read this message again.”

  47. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I hope all works out well for your family.

  48. MickyDidIt89 says:


    Just get OUT 🙂

    Actually, Scotland is my favourite country to visit, but it’s a big “no thanks” to Rangers and Celtic fans.

  49. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Must off now for the evening.

    Be back in the morning for Gardeners Question Time, and I do hope Chas will be a little more receptive to our ideas.

  50. GunnerN5 says:


    I should have made it clear that the Crystal Palace team in the article have no connection to the modern team.

  51. GunnerN5 says:

    Off out to pick the grandchildren up from school.

  52. RA says:

    Thanks for clarifying that, GN5, it may have just been my misreading of your wonderful Post — of course I would never have forgiven you, if I had quoted you – erroneously – as my source. 🙂

  53. stevepalmer1 says:

    Sorry been out all day.
    GN5 pleased to hear it mate. Hope all your problems are solvable.

  54. Gööner In Exile says:

    Evening all.

    Berwick Rangers (from memory) play in both the FA Cups (Scottish and English versions). Or was it Bedlington Terriers? One of them anyway.

    On from Steve’s quiz about going to Wembley but not used what about:

    Who plays at Wembley on Cup Final Day but doesn’t get a medal?

    Thanks for another education GN5, pity to hear that’s the last for a while. As your posts prove not every post has to be topical, so how about us regulars chip in with a few Arsenal history posts, favourite memories, matches players etc? Can be stored and used on Fridays.

    Good news on Kozzer, further evidence that the tide is changing in terms of our ability to keep players.

  55. What a fantastic post. When I was a kid I used to read all about these old teams. Sadly now most young fans are pre occupied with lionel messi and nike ads. The time difference here makes it difficult to get on when others are on so I hope you are all well.

  56. chas says:

    You, too, GM.

  57. chas says:

    Here’s my new garden design mock up.

  58. Someone on twitter who seems to know a lot about the clubs says that Arsene has already sorted the right back position.

  59. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning GM and Chas

    Exactly as I envisaged it, Chas. Sensational. Think of the fun you’ll have in your role as Head Groundsman. Preparing the hallowed turf in different patterns for “Shoot Out Days”

  60. MickyDidIt89 says:


    Did your source indicate whether that includes Monsieur Sagna?

  61. chas says:

    Is that the Serge Aurier rumour?

  62. Nice one chas. Peaches will give you a good price on that

  63. Sagna is gone. He didn’t say who it was chas but but there are separate reports that Aurier has already met with Arsenal officials and agreed a deal

  64. chas says:

  65. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok, that’s RB done then.

    Gustavo or Bender for DM and we’re just left with one more.

    Heck, we can have this summers transfers sorted by breakfast

  66. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Damn, I’ll be gone before the last league BR PM

    Daughter to drop off as she’s managed to get into two teams for two matches today, which will really eat into a good days’ antiquing 🙂

  67. chas says:

    Tomorrow, mate.

  68. chas says:

  69. chas says:

  70. chas says:

    tittivation time

  71. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Amazing surf vid Chas.

    Terrifying. Did you notice the rocks an inch beneath the surface?

    That is precision riding.

  72. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Does that mean you’re about to titivate us, or titivate yourself?

  73. chas says:

    Yep. Very dangerous.

  74. Gööner In Exile says:

    Chas did you get tickets to Norwich?

  75. chas says:

    No, GIE. They sold out to 30 plus credits

  76. chas says:

    Though we’d more or less ruled it out anyway.

    Just saw a stat on SSN.
    Liverpool have conceded 2 more away goals than us!

  77. Gööner In Exile says:


    Peaches, post in drafts if you need it

  78. chas tittivating says:

    I just noticed that my gym avatar is a little bit canaryish.

  79. chas tittivating says:


  80. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Shouldn’t you be pumping some irons?

  81. Morning

    Love the new garden design chas 🙂

    Happy Birthday DB10, fabulous footballer extraordinaire 🙂

    Is it too soon for the yellow ribbons? I might have to start festooning my front garden with them. That’ll upset Daniel Levy when he drives past 😉

  82. LB says:

    Ok, a bit more to play for tomorrow than I realised, the chavs will obviously lose which means we have to beat Norwich 8-0 to get third spot.


  83. White Bear says:

    something for Chas – “Life like a Penis”

  84. White Bear says:

    @620 garden is amazing, Peaches couldn’t do better

    Maybe, I will have my new garden all red and white….

  85. LB says:

    I like the word festoon, I assume it must be a verb.

    I festoon
    You festoon
    Nous festoonons
    Vouz festoonez
    Ils festoons

    It gets a bit tricky in the subjunctive.

  86. Morning all

    I won’t even go into gardener’s world as my spelling is so bad and flowers=latin which is a no good

  87. see what i meam

    I meant no go

  88. Shard says:

    What a fantastic post GN5. Please let it not be the last blast from the past. I don’t always comment on them but I love reading them, sometimes going back through the archives to find them.

  89. RA says:

    No, you were right first time, Kelsey, ‘no good’ name-changer! 🙂

  90. We have a New Post ……………..

  91. Phew ……..

    verb (used with object)
    to adorn with or as with festoons: to festoon a hall or front garden with yellow ribbons for The Arsenal who are going to Wemberley

  92. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all,
    GIE The national Anthem,
    Wenger has been offered 10 mill by Monaco to be their new manager, who saw that coming.

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